Greenwich Vulnerable Adult Abuse Lawyer
An allegation that you inadvertently or intentionally caused injury to an elderly, physically-disabled, or intellectually-disadvantaged person can carry harsh criminal penalties in Connecticut. On top of that, building a defense to such allegations can be uniquely challenging since you may not know who reported you to state authorities or when the report was made. Guidance from a Greenwich vulnerable adult abuse lawyer is key to effectively contesting the accusations made against you and minimizing any criminal sanctions you might face upon conviction.
What Are Mandatory Reporting Laws for Vulnerable Adults?
Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) § 17a-412 and 17b-451 name various people in positions of medical and/or caretaking authority as “mandatory reporters” of suspected elder abuse. Anyone who holds one of the roles listed below and suspects someone 60 years old or older is being subjected to willful neglect or abuse of any kind from a caretaker is required by law to file a report with the Protective Services for the Elderly Division of the State Department of Social Services (DSS):
- Licensed and unlicensed healthcare practitioners, including nurses, dentists, pharmacists, and physical therapists;
- Nursing home employees;
- Patient advocates;
- Medical examiners;
- Police officers; and/or
- Clergy members.
While anyone can report suspected elder neglect or abuse to the DSS, mandatory reporters can face $500 in fines if they knowingly and intentionally fail to report mistreatment within five days of becoming aware of it. Additionally, anyone who knowingly and intentionally files a materially false report may be prosecuted for a Class A misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to a year in jail and/or $2,000 in fines.
Based on such a report, the DSS may conduct in-person interviews and visits with the allegedly mistreated person, as well as with any people accused of neglecting or abusing them and with others who may have direct knowledge of relevant facts. If the investigation finds evidence of mistreatment, a consenting older adult may be taken into protective custody. Anyone involved in such an investigation may want to contact a Greenwich vulnerable adult abuse attorney sooner rather than later.
What Are the Possible Penalties for Elder Abuse Charges?
The Connecticut Penal Code defines three degrees of criminal “abuse” charges that may stem from an investigation into the alleged mistreatment of a vulnerable adult. Someone who knowingly or recklessly causes physical injury to a disadvantaged individual through abuse may be charged under C.G.S. § 53a-323 with the Class A misdemeanor of Abuse in the Third Degree.
C.G.S. § 53a-322 categorizes the charge of Abuse in the Second Degree as a Class D felony. Finally, Abuse in the First Degree is a Class C felony under C.G.S. §53a-321, as a vulnerable adult abuse attorney in Greenwich can further explain.
Discuss Legal Options with a Greenwich Vulnerable Adult Abuse Attorney
No matter who reported it or what type of mistreatment you allegedly engaged in, allegations of elder abuse are serious matters in Connecticut. You may face felony-level consequences from related criminal charges, and an investigation by the Department of Social Services may proceed with or without an arrest.
Either way, representation from a qualified Greenwich vulnerable adult abuse lawyer is vital to handling this matter as effectively and proactively as possible. Call the Law Offices of Mark Sherman today for a confidential consultation. You can also visit our Avvo profile, which has over 300 certified reviews from past clients.